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a post where i fangirl over my new tech

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Warning: This whole post is all about me nerding out over my new pedal. I don’t care. I screamed when the doorbell went, not even kidding. Fangirling or what.

 

You know when you really want something and, because of your parents NLP background*, you envisage yourself doing the thing you really want and you speak positively about the thing with “when” instead of “if”. And you can imagine yourself getting the thing and what you will do with the thing and you get yourself really excited and worked up about the thing, although you haven’t even gotten the thing yet?

My ‘thing’ that I’ve wanted for nearly a year has been a TC Helicon Voicelive 3.

And today, my Voicelive 3 arrived.

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Don’t get me wrong, I bought it. I knew it was arriving. A year ago my Harmony GX-T was still fresh and I was in love with that, not clouded at all yet by the awesome new arrival of the Voicelive 3. But long story short, I was enticed by the shiny, new thing, like a magpie to a…shiny thing. All the possibilities; more presets, uke effects, vast array of harmonies and looping to name a few and how handy it would be in all one. I sat and watched countless tutorials, walkthroughs and music videos were the Voicelive 3 was used, boring my friend spamming them links about it, and on constant high alert at gigs with musicians using unusual effects, wondering whether they had one. So you can imagine how surreal it does feel, after months of anticipation, when father wakes me up explaining that he tracked my new pedal, that it should be arriving within the hour (sleepy Zoë saying sleepily, “what, this hour? like today?”) and the doorbell promptly ringing straight after that sentence.

I yelped. Father ran. I fell out of bed.

It’s very pretty. “If Apple made pedals” Father quotes. It’s bigger than I expected and I guess that’s good. I sat staring at the morning sun rays glinting gracefully off the curvature of the metal face, perfectly manufactured for ease of pressing the top foot switches without accidentally hitting the bottom. Caressing the slightly raised black text of ‘delay’ with my thumb, I extended my index finger and carefully rotated the volume dial. Don’t even get me started on peeling off the protective film.

Wow.

Must admit, haven’t even plugged it in yet. Might be crap.

 

*Yeah, that’s just me isn’t it…

Oh and P.S Got a Switch 6 too, that’s what’s in the pic. But it’s just extra switches I can assign certain elements to. It is also pretty.

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Identity Parade 10th Anniversary

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Was absolutely honored to play at Identity Parade‘s 10th Anniversary at the Mash House in Edinburgh this weekend. I like the Mash House, played there not too long ago as part of the Hit the Road tour I did with Lewis Capaldi, and Jacob & Rory Green, so I was chuffed to be back and able to play again in a venue I like.

It was mentioned on the night but I’d like to reiterate something similar to what the lead singer of The Lonely Together mentioned on stage, Keith and Alan are really top blokes and did a brilliant job of successfully creating a supportive, and well varied but suited showcase that really was a cool experience to perform at. It’s nice to walk into a venue, and automatically think, “Aw, I’ll enjoy this” and I definitely did.

If honest, that day, I’d traveled up from London after a night of headbanging on a four hour train, to then get driven 2.5 hours to Edinburgh and then, absolutely shattered, sing (weird how doing nothing for 6+ hours is so freaking draining, ha!) so a little part of me was worried that I’d either forget everything, have gone to all that effort and the audience hate me and throw things, fall asleep or some other melodramatic reason.

Safe to say, nothing was thrown, muscle memory is wonderful and I thoroughly enjoyed myself the whole evening without falling asleep until I was in the car.

Sadly because of trainage and driving missed the whole of Alan R Davison‘s set and most of Orthodox‘s but of what I heard it sounded great. Enjoyed The Lonely Together, sound was pretty awesome, I like a lot of bass, there was a lot of bass, I was happy. And of course I enjoyed Nathan Connolly’s set! Him and Alan sang SP’s Chocolate so I was definitely chuffed. Oh and the Nathan freaking lead guitarist of Snow Patrol and front man of Little Matador Connolly said I was incredible and bought my CD. Can we just. yeh.

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There you go, little 14 year old Zoë would never have guessed that as she creates a Snow Patrol ‘fan/info booklet’ for a Computer Science project whilst blaring A Hundred Million Suns.

Massive thank you again to; Alan and Keith for asking me, all the lovely things said, and general wooping. It was fantastic evening.

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Perthshire Amber 2014 with a little bit of Shambolic

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Had a lovely time up in Dunkeld for Perthshire Amber this past weekend. Invited to play at the open mic on Saturday and host an acoustic session in the Taybank (although, if honest, wasn’t fully sure what that meant I needed to do). Decided to make a weekend of it so set off travelling on the Friday, heading into Glasgow en route for an evening of literature, music and comedy in the form of Shambolic at The Project Cafe.

10514561_747059442032322_2955888493350407359_nPreviously known as Discombobulate, I’d played before at one of lovely Magi and Ian’s events back home in Wigtown as part of the Book Festival alongside the awesome Alan Bisset and lovely Kirstin Innes about three years ago. So I was looking forward to catching up like a weird literary reunion, plus I quite like the Project Cafe, they make great crepes, have really good gingerbread and a tiger in the toilet…

Anyway it was a lovely gig, I enjoyed myself, was thoroughly entertained by everyone else performing and laughed quite a fair bit. It’s nice to perform among other creative types that aren’t necessarily music based, I always wonder if a writer would take something different from a piece of music. But then again, I think about this with everyone. Thankfully the audience enjoyed me singing at them and have said nice things. Cheers very much Ian and Magi for having me. Something I definitely recommend and would like to go back to.

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Onward to Perthshire!

10350329_815575761835731_8046777527348939533_nT’was the last weekend of Perthshire Amber so sadly I think we missed the main ‘amber’ tree leaves excitement bit, but it was still lovely, and what a quaint place Dunkeld is! Had some soup and mango juice (obviously important information) at Spill the Beans before playing at The Wee Festival Hall in the Royal Hotel. Bumped into Auntie Liz after, a fabulous lady in her own right but also the mother hen of the folk scene and queen of Celtic Music Radio, before toddling off to The Taybank for the acoustic session.

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I have attended my fair share of sessions and jams, however I never really get involved with traditional folk as I don’t feel qualified enough. I know that’s a stupid thing to say because it’s just a jam and there isn’t much you can do wrong but whenever a trio of fiddlers whip out a couple of intricate jigs and reals, amdist figuring out what I could play that would compliment their piece, I’m worrying just a little bit that, my singer/songwritery attempt to offer a joiny-in song, Jolene might not be accepted.

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Despite my, maybe over-dramatic worries, I belted into Jolene, they joined in and the lovely Fiona sitting next to me did some really nice harmonies. So I guess my anxiety isn’t anything major and I’m over-thinking things. The folk scene is a really accepting tribe of humans, some have their particular ways things should be done, but most are really nice welcoming people that are open to things a little bit different, i.e a young girl with a ukulele and a vocal effects pedal, ha!

Aaand back to Spill the Beans we headed, with a quick stop in the charity shop on the way (I bought more books, it’s becoming a charity shop curse). We had cake. Tea and cake. And it was lovely. All in all the festival vibe was brilliant, they do a fantastic job. Despite us only being there a day, you could tell; everyone seemed happy and I rather enjoyed myself. Thanks very much for having me Perthshire Amber, hope to see you next year!

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A Grand Northern Ukulele Festival 2014

(C)2014 Edward A Sprake, all rights reserved

My first ever ukulele festival was amazing. One of the best ever experiences at a festival to date; so many happy, wonderful, nice humans and that’s before getting to the fun of the uke. Such a fabulous little instrument connecting all these fantastic people together.

We arrived on the Friday at the hotel (right next to the lazor quest and internet cafe, in case you were wondering). A hotel in which I later learned that pretty much everyone playing was booked into. All the artists had been emailing, prior to the festival, to organise a meet up and dinner that night to mingle and introduce each other. So I vaguely, via the interwebs and line up, knew of the characters I was about to meet, but not really.

After being entertained by small children getting drenched in the water fountains outside the train station, Father and I headed to the restaurant and sheepishly sat by the window (me) and ordered drinks (father) whilst we (me) proceeded to people watch, guessing whether these humans with trilbys and small instrument cases making their way towards us were ukulele players or had just time travelled from the 1930s. But that was just Jake.

edited DSC_1597-1(No but seriously there were Steampunkians in the form of the Mother Ukers, Trilby and Bowler wearers – including myself – and even a tailcoat, which lovely Tricity Vogue pulled off amazingly)

I’ve genuinely never felt so accepted into a new group of people so quickly than I did that night, although the usual not knowing awkwardness was definitely there, I felt triumphant that I’d chatted to and recognised faces from Ukulele Underground, ukulele YouTube videos and general ukuleleish Facebook connections. All in all everyone was lovely and I truly felt like I was part of something awesome.

After food we all made our way to the Head of Steam, to meet up with all the festival go-ers pre-festival and the other performers who didn’t make it to the meal to have a jam and watch Lionel K Hubert. Although missed Lionel (sorry!) we did catch snippets of Phil Doleman, and Andy Eastwood with a bit of Michael Adcock, which was all rather fabulous, plus lots of jamming that I harmonised on (although no one probably heard me, which was may be best as I couldn’t hear myself). The Head of Steam was THE place to be pre-fest and after the main concerts. There was a right good after party on Saturday night, in which I thoroughly enjoyed myself chatting to…nearly everyone. Didn’t even jam, which is something I regret and will look forward to joining in with next year.

Too early for my brain to function properly on Saturday morning, Father drove Clarice, the festivals ambassador of awesomeness, and myself to BBC Radio Leeds in which we chatted about how fantastical the festival was going to be, then I sang a bit and that seemed to go down well.

I want to chat about the rest of Saturday and Sunday but my brain is all a happy mess and for the life of me cannot remember which order anything came in so to summarise, I tried out some utterly gorgeous ukuleles, met even more amazing people, soundchecked at some point and got excited about the stunning natural reverb, attempted to jam songs backstage, walked up and down an inordinate amount of stairs, went to an awesome record store called Vinyl Tap to watch chilled Mr Remco or Ukulelezaza, had cake and tea, played a very, very small ukulele, watched Krabbers and The Mersey Belles, ate pizza, spotted a gold postbox so then tried to figure out who had won an Olympic gold medal from Huddersfield (still don’t know, and Google is cheating), experienced Tricity Vogue and the dancing penguin, made a mental note to tell Kris his sandwiches were fab, laughed a lot at Vonk and Vlam, watched the flipping Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britian and at some point Saturday night I sang onstage to a incredibly lovely audience who laughed and joined in, ukes and all, and how I smiled, I smiled so much that whole weekend my cheeks burned.

Feel like I’ve missed so much out. It was such an enjoyable weekend.

One CRUCIAL thing I need to mention is that on Sunday, myself, the hilarious Chonkinfeckle, fabulous Tony the GNUF co-organiser, amazing Ben Rouse and a bit of brilliant Vonk and Vlam were filmed for BBC Look North. Got some pics in the gallery below but here is the finished piece:

Compiled some photies, some mine, some not (I tell you which) this is just so you can experience the weekend with me and get your tickets for next year…

SEE YOU THERE! ;)

Click me for my GNUF Gallery (Use arrow keys to navigate)

P.S I also won in the raffle!!! A Moselele Bambookulele (it smells really good) and an arg…arg..argapo (?) t-shirt10624595_771204722938475_2791554594513978523_n

Remember to check out Ed Sprake Photography for even more amazing photos of the festival http://edsprake.com/

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Dolly Parton’s Jolene & BBC Radio Scotland

Ta da, here you go, my latest cover of a brilliant song. It’s amazingly written and something I love to perform in my live sets.

With regards to the fancy stuff on my vocals in the vid, absolutely no additional effects were added to the track in the studio. Everything was done in one take using my TC Helicon VoiceTone Harmony G-XT pedal and MP-75 Microphone with D.I. through my beautiful Fishman Loudbox Artist amp. Do love my tech. My babies.

I was also incredibly lucky enough to be invited to play my Jolene cover LIVE on BBC Radio Scotland on The Culture Show with Janice Forsyth.

Was in the studio with Vic Galloway too who was chatting about cover songs

Available only for a week and in the UK, but LISTEN AGAIN on iPlayer by clicking here.

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If you’re part of Team Bestel you’ll be able to get this for FREEEEEEE as well some other mp3 goodies, if not sign up: Click me to join Team Bestel 

Or if not, got Twitter? It’s on Twitmusic too: http://bit.ly/ZoefiedJolene

 

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Sir Lucas and the Moon OUT NOW

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Click me to buy!

Here is the official snazzy video for the single, Nobody Knows, off the album, filmed in The Bookshop in Wigtown complete with blurs and glows and such:

So that’s it – Sir Lucas and the Moon is available NOW (yay) Here are all the places in Dumfries & Galloway were you can pick up your copy.

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But it is also available online, on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon MP3.

If you would like a physical copy you can buy them DIRECTLY from meeeee by clicking here.

Thank you for all your amazingness. I honestly couldn’t have done it without you guys

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